I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Monday, January 30, 2012

Christie's Lies: Golden Oldies

I haven't posted about this in a while:
Christie joined with Democratic leaders last year to shift a greater share of the pension burden to public workers and to end cost-of-living increases for current and future retirees. The legislation helped drive down the state’s unfunded pension liability from $53.9 billion to $36.3 billion when the administration revised its figures for fiscal 2010, according to the actuarial reports made public on Tuesday. [emphasis mine]
Remember, Chris Christie said this during his campaign inn his famous "Open Letter to Teachers":
* I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. In fact, in order to ensure your retirement savings are safe, I believe we must prioritize the protection of pension fund dollars and investigate the cause of Jon Corzine’s large investment losses to our pension system. Currently there is a $34 billion deficit in the State’s pension fund, which threatens the retirement and lifeline of so many teachers. We must do better for our teachers, future teachers and retirees. As Governor, I will work to close unfunded liabilities and make sure our state lives up to its promises, unlike Jon Corzine. I will not raid your pension fund to cover budgetary shortfalls like previous governors of both parties have done. One of the changes I will bring to Trenton is responsible management, investment, and oversight of state pension dollars. [emphasis mine]
 That particular lie has not aged well, has it? The report continues:
But the reports also show the hole in the pension fund climbed to $41.8 billion — an increase of $5.5 billion — by the end of fiscal 2011, the result of Christie following in the tradition of his recent predecessors and skipping the state’s pension payment. [emphasis mine]
OK, wait a minute. The reporter here, Jarrett Renshaw, owes a better explanation than that:

 Say what you want about Jon Corzine, but as this chart shows, he made pension payments. Continuing:
The state should be paying about $3.3 billion into the pension fund this year, but will kick in about $468 million. And in the budget for fiscal 2013, the state will only pay about $900 million of its $3 billion bill, records show.
As part of a measure that passed in 2010, the state will increase its payments by one-seventh each year over the next seven years.
Experts have compared this with a homeowner who takes out a mortgage and makes only partial payments for seven years. Then, after those seven years, the missed payments are added and the homeowner is saddled with a much bigger mortgage and higher monthly payments.
So teachers, cops, firefighters, state workers - we're all paying more into the pension. Christie told us it was the only way to "save" it. But he's not meeting his responsibilities, so these extra payments are in further jeopardy. All so millionaires and corporations can get tax cuts.

I've offered a deal before, and it still stands: I'll get out of the pension system right now. Give me all my money back, with interest. Then pay me the amount the state was supposed to kick in for the rest of my career. I'll take my own chances with investing it; I can't do any worse than Whitney Tilson.

Of course, Chris Christie will never, ever take me up on this deal, because he needs my payments to meet current obligations and continue to give huge tax gifts to the wealthy. I and my fellow public workers are bailing him and his masters out, yet he says we are the problem.
By 2018, state taxpayers will begin paying more than $5 billion a year for pensions, about 10 times higher than the payment being made in the budget for fiscal 2012, which ends on June 30, according to administration estimates.
By 2018, President Christie will have either moved on to destroying the finances of the entire country, or he'll be lobbying for Wall Street. Either way, he'll be long gone, and someone else will be cleaning up this mess. It won't be pretty.


Deb said...

What do you want to bet that they are investing pension money in CMOs.....

Unknown said...

I love bringing this up every time some asshole tells me about how they are paying for my pension. REALLY? I've only been teaching for ten years, so I beg to differ.

Deb said...

It is a basic balloon mortgage that will conveniently come due when Christie is out of office. The buck ought to stop with him - or send him the bill where ever he is then....

Teacher Mom said...

I didn't forget. In the fall my youngest goes to kindergarten. I was hoping to finally start saving for a house, but the $600/month I would be saving will now be my health care as well as pension, though that's already coming out. Yet when my family members that also work for the state are shocked at how much more we lowly teachers will be paying.